Mental Health Recovery Partners North Island (MHRP) will be offering a Y Mind Teen program this spring.
The program is open to teenagers ages 13-18 that have mild anxiety and stress. The program will be delivered online over seven weeks with 12 spots available.
Don Kattler is the executive director for MHRP North Island, and he was the one who applied for the grant funding that helped fund the Y Mind Teen program for the true North Island.
Nadine Pluzak, a registered expressive arts therapist who has been working in Port Hardy for over a year now, is one of the facilitators of the program and has worked extensively with youth in the past.
Andi Rose, a local youth outreach worker, will also be involved with the program.
As a registered expressive arts therapist, Pluzak brings a unique skillset to the program; namely, specific tools that can help people thrive in their life with regards to mental health and wellness.
The Y Mind Teen program was created by psychotherapists and mindfulness practitioners through the YMCA of Canada.
“It’s been a very successful program across the board, there’s been lots of positive feedback about how helpful this program is,” confirmed Pluzak, who added the practices and skills that are built upon throughout the program are all evidence based.
Pluzak said she thinks that with the ever increasing access to social media, coupled with the stress of the pandemic, teenage life nowadays has so many complexities to it, and the youth need to have “as many tools and skills available at their fingertips to be able to step forward and know how to regulate how they are feeling in the present moment, to come back to the present moment, and be able to make wise choices and decisions.”
The Y Mind Teen program will be helping local teenagers do exactly that. Pluzak also noted that not every teenager “has a home life where they can learn and stay focused… There could be a lot of issues going on at home that they are encountering now on a daily basis and it can create a lot of stress and anxiety.”
Pluzak said she thinks this program is worthwhile because “there is a gap here in what’s available for youth, which can lead to them turning to substances or disfunctional relationships and thus creating patterns, and they aren’t given the opportunities to learn how to break those patterns and cycles.”
The program will benefit North Island youth by giving them helpful and relevant tools to calm themselves down. They will be walking away from the seven week program with concrete skills and tools that will help them in the present moment by practicing mindfulness approaches, learning how to unhook thoughts, and being able to identify triggers that lead to anxiety or stress producing thoughts.
“Youth are powerful and knowledge is power,” added Pluzak. “When you have the knowledge of yourself, you can be authentic, you can be true to yourself, and you can step forward and let your gifts shine in the world.”
On Friday, April 30, there will be a Zoom info session about all of the information that’s available in the program, and you can sign up by contacting MHRP at MindTeen@mhrp.ca or call 250-230-9338.